Page 382: Spat with Cat
Spat with Cat
Summary: A chance meeting at the Stonebridge public stables leads Catryn and Maldred to a speedy but sharp exchange.
Date: 07/08/2012. Appendix, 20/08/2012
Related Logs: The Bravo's Amends
Catryn Maldred Oliva 
Stonebridge, Stables
The public stables of Stonebridge are quite large and even have a distinct area for visiting nobility to house their steeds while visiting The Crane's Crossing. Saddles are stored within an interior building and out of the elements where services are offered for everything from repair to shining. Feed is supplied as well to make sure that the charges are well cared-for.
7th August, 289 (appendix, 20th August)

Far from where the nobles had their mounts stabled near towards the cheapest that the stable provided, two mules stood in stalls side by side, while their accompliace, perched atop the half wall that divided hall from stall to shall with a leg drapped in either stall and her back to the hall proper. Shamelessly sharing an apple with the beasts of burden. It was the remaints of her lunch. "Now, if the world were full of magic as it used to be, you'd both turn into proper horses," the girl grumbled.

The other inhabitant of the stables has a different approach, and, even, an opposite intention. His loping stride takes him straight to the 'noble' compartment of the stables, and he wears a weary expression on his greyish-white face, as he undoes without much effort the twine to some high lady's palfrey. Neither it, nor its companion, pose a challenge, especially when he knots them close up together; but he pauses, as if half in tiredness and half in rumination, before he takes on a hardier beast, closer to the muleteer's spawn but actually pricier than the ladies' mounts. He is Ser Maldred Rivers, and, whatever the time of night or the state of drink, he takes trouble with Graymalkin, his destrier. Compared to this paragon, even the sprightliest of humans is ignored, for now.

Catryn's attention shifts with the movements, the footsteps lighter than the stomp of hooves and more fluid, heavier than the stablemaster's on solid tread. It's that which has the girl leaning back over her perch, gripping with her legs so that shes doesn't fall and eyeing the owner of the steps. The grin that pulls is cheshire, amusement twinkling in her eyes and within a moment; once he's left the palfrey be, she's come down from the wall with a quiet thump and marking progress in his direction. "Mal," the cat greets and while it's not his full name, because everyone becomes one syllable on her tongue, at least it is a piece of it for she remembers his words when last they met. Though a low whistle follows, once she wiggles into a better position to have a look at his own mount. The wall scaled so that she can perch and watch. "Ye've a lovely beast, Ser." What? She likes horses.

The moment she'd've witnessed is an odd one indeed. Maldred Rivers does not, particicularly, like horses, - but he loves this white destrier, like he loves his more-or-less intact mail, or his on-the-whole impracticably long hand-and-a-a-half-sword. All of them remind him who he is, and what he's supposed to be up to. So for a moment, Cat witnesses Maldred cooing to his mount, with a hint of irony but far more genuine affection, as he gently smoothes down its mane.

His dim grey eyes dart with speed that belies their mundane colour, as he hears himself addressed - and as the Frey bastard takes her in, he seems less than entirely assuaged. "I think I preferred Ser Bastard," he suggests. "Better antagonism and respect of rank than…whatever you intend now, Cat Taken. But I'm glad you like the beast. I call him Graymalkin, for his heraldic colour."

"Aye, prefer Ser Bastard meself, if only fer the way it makes ye grin, when ye hear it." Antagonism, is far more her strong suit than say, compassion is, but at least she does know what it is. And the mount -is- lovely. "Greymalkin," she repeats and there's that effort to make the words come neat and proper and straight before she slips down from the wall and this time…on his side of it. "I've always wanted a horse. A proper one. Don't keen how ter ride real well. Asked the wee squire to teach me, since he'd one, but he wouldn't." Bottom lip ducking between her teeth, the girls eyes bounce from man to beast and back again, lingering upon the former. "Would you?" And she looks, oh she looks like she really wants to touch it, but she won't. Not without permission, so eyes ask what lips do not as she keeps her distance.

The knight's harsh laughter is, quite tunefully, echoed by the tramping of his hob-nailed boots, as he rounds Graymalkin's elegant head. "The boy refused you, Cat, because he himself is far from certain. Less certain than he should be; I did not lend him, over Hoekenn, care of this steed for nothing, that day we went paddling. For though I thought the Stenhammar boy would be more skilled, I knew the Asterholm would be the gentler. They are a gentle house, which is likely why they have nothing." He neither seems to mock, or bemoan, that state of affairs.

"So…well, I would let you try this lad, if it came to it, girl; more because I'm sure he could not be hurt by you, than t'other way round, perhaps…but bring me some less…hardened mount. One that has known nothing of Alderbrook fight. Then, mayhaps, we may ride, and for fun, at that."

She listened, giving a slow nod of her head as he explained. That he knew houses and more of the people than she did, meant she listened very very well, too. A considering gleam of gratitude to her eyes that he actually took the time to explain. Though, near the end she frowned and retreated once more from man and horse to perch up on the wall; making her easily eye level with him. "Be a right long wait then, Bastard," though even that she still makes sound an endearment rather than insult. "Aint got no horse. Pa wont let us have one, till we can afford it an I can learn but cant learn aint no one teach. Still," she gave him a smile. "Were nice of ye not ter just say no."

"Smallfolk are hanged for horse-theft, of course," Maldred replies - and it does seem to be a direct reply, as he looks straightforwardly into the girl's eyes, and reels out his knife-sharp grin. "You do wisely to keep to your own…this one is more temperamental than he looks."

The bastard knight has now sauntered beyond the horse quite, and ceased to regard it, in the girl's favour. "Unlike you, Cat Taken; I'd be most surprised, were you not, in fact, less quicksilver than you have made out…"

"I'm aware," the girl drawls slowly, "Of all tha various ways smallfolk are punished, Ser Bastard, an more than ye, o'juss how they're regarded. And I will thank ye, again, not to imply that I'm a fuckin' theif. Because smallfolk are also hanged, on rumor wit no one to speak for 'em, because some man got a notion in his head that a thing was so or more, overheard by the wrong people. I've lived right by man's laws and Gods, since I set foot on these damned riverland shores and juss because there's folks pissin' on your head," the girl washed the flavor of broken common from her tongue, for something more proper, "Is no reason at all, for you to go round trying to shit on mine."


Appendix: Two weeks later; the stables, Terrick's Roost

It's twilight out in the courtyard, but no trace of that majestic dusky dark blue reaches the strawy ordure and shade that is the ruling environment of the Roost's stables. A less wholesome blue-grey, did anyone but know it, is now within at his leisure, in the form of the patchily disguised Frey bastard, Ser Maldred Rivers. Having left his destrier at the Twins during this discreeter sojourn in the Cape, he has no vested interest in the beasts herein, but as he slouches opposite the stalls he eyes many of them up anyway, as if turning to them for diversion - who knows, maybe even conversation…

It has been a sleepless night for Oliva, but sehe is starting to grow accustomed to such with the new colt to look after. She is leading the white beauty from his stall, the newborn still quite uneasy on his feet. He has just been fed by any accounts as she holds an empty glass bottle that has been fitted with a surrogent teat. She is at the point that her sleeplessness has stopped wearing on her, the circles as dark as they can get, and her stance as tired as it can muster. When she glances across the stable corridor, and her gaze alights on the Frey bastard, she tilts her head a bit. "This doesn't look like the inn," she says in mild jest.

"But I'd vouch you prefer the company," Maldred shoots back, in his castle-bred voice, sour and less than sincere. There is an unthinking, visceral aspect to the way he banters on impulse. Perhaps that's simply a product of sibling rivalry writ more than large.

He had replied to the quip without turning to survey its maker, and now he remedies that, swivelling to face the horsemistress, his own pinched face curiously solemn. But the corners of his mouth twitch jocundly as he adds, "I see you have the hero of last night's nativity well in hand…"

"Company is welcomed but not required," the Northern woman points out to him as she leads the white colt along, the well-bonded animal staying very close to Oliva as if in fear of the big scary world inside the stables. The woman tilts her head a bit as she offers him a small smile on that freckled face. "He is doing well, and the milk goat has been holding up. We are still trying to find a name for the unfortunate boy, though the stablehands are a bit afraid to name him in case he should die in the night."

"I meant to compliment the company of the horses, not my own," Maldred points out. "An, ahem, true knight shuns bombast…" His voice has sunk as if in measured support of this claim to barely above a whisper, and he gives the white colt a look simultaneously side-on and relatively attentive. "He's a while to go ere he gets to my stallion's hands, but I would not exactly bet against his chances. He seems…well looked after…" There is just the hint of a sneer in those last words, as if the bastard insinuates that too much motherly affection from an unnatural, human source may spoil the beast for war.

Interest and curiosity staves off this sardonic tone, though, and Maldred enquires with what sounds like genuine solicitude - "Are names, then, so deadly, Mistress Snow? No wonder we who are without them thrive!"